Automakers are offering Florida residents in the 25 counties ravaged by Hurricane Charley a chance to defer their loan or lease payments without paying any extra fee.
And if they need a new vehicle, automakers are offering something extra for that, too.
Ford Motor Credit on Monday said that it will defer payments for two months without deferment fees for customers who live in the 25 counties that have been declared disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The automaker said it was sending letters to credit customers in the area. Ford said customers must call (800) 723-4016 to qualify for the no-cost deferment.
Chrysler Financial and GMAC on Tuesday said they also will defer payments without fees for customers. Unlike Ford, each said it would make the determination on a case-by-case basis, but declined to say what is required for a customer to qualify, or how many months can be deferred without fee.
Chrysler Financial also has a toll-free number for its more than 60,000 central Florida customers if they need extra time to make payments, (800) 556-8172. The automaker has included information inside monthly statements about making payment extensions to those who live in the affected areas.
GMAC said its central Florida customers should call its normal number, (800) 200-4622.
Ford Motor Credit has about 150,000 customers in central Florida. GM said it has 350,000 Florida customers, but did not have a breakdown by region.
Ford has set an Oct. 23 deadline for customers to contact them for the fee-waived extension. Chrysler Financial and GMAC are asking their customers to contact them as soon as possible.
Automakers also are offering extra incentives to consumers in Floridas disaster areas to help residents replace lost or damaged vehicles.
General Motors, the Chrysler group and Ford are offering an additional $750 off the price of a new vehicle to central Florida customers whose cars were damaged or destroyed during the hurricane. While Ford has left the incentives open to all residents of the 25 counties, GM and the Chrysler group are requiring customers to bring copies of insurance claims to the dealership.